Email Penny Schwinn At The DOE To Oppose The Opt-Out Punishment In The School Report Card!!!!

Academic Framework Working Group, Delaware DOE

It appears the Academic Framework Working Group will have a few more meetings heading into September.  They will be finalizing their decisions at their September 23rd meeting.  Today I had a very cordial email exchange with Penny Schwinn, the Chief Officer of Performance & Accountability at the Department of Education.  I found out the next three meetings will be on 9/2, 9/17 and 9/23 and I asked Penny Schwinn if they could be made public and for more stakeholders added to this group.

Schwinn indicated other than the non-negotiable items mandated by the US DOE, which have to be in there, the other items have not been finalized, including the participation rate penalty and the growth measures.  She said no weights for the school report card have been finalized at this point as well.  I did share with her that I felt far too much weight, as proposed based on their March meeting, is tied to the Smarter Balanced Assessment results.  In addition, I did advise her more of the school culture, such as suspension & expulsion rates and even bullying statistics should be added, as this is a frequent concern for parents in any school choice.

Schwinn also shared that all Delaware Superintendents will receive emails about the next few meetings and all have been invited to attend. She did not say anything about the Board members in each district, but I did request the Board Presidents be emailed as well since they have a large say in district matters as well. I also asked if the meetings could be recorded and released on the DOE website to show a level of transparency for the public.

This measure the AFWG wants to have with a participation rates for standardized testing being multiplied by the school’s academic performance is a punishment against schools. It is out of the school’s hands if a parent opts their child out.  It is 100% a parent’s right and their decision.  Penny Schwinn did indicate she is more than happy to receive public input on this matter and anything associated with the school report card and welcomes any input.  So please email Penny Schwinn and the accountability department at the Delaware DOE, and include me in the cc: section with so I can get an accurate feel for the opposition to this punishing measure.

I suspect the State Board of Education will attempt to vote on this at their October meeting, without true stakeholder input.  This could be very damaging for our schools and teachers and students.  A poor grade for a school can cause a lot of public perception to sway parents towards one school or another.  This School Report Card is vastly weighted with the results of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which can not and should not be a determining factor for how good or bad a school might be.

As well, email your legislator, the Delaware PTA, the school board in your district, and anyone who you think might be able to oppose this.  If you have children in Delaware public schools, talk to other parents.  Let the principal know you oppose this.  MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!  Whether you support or oppose opt-out, this is not an accurate measurement of a school!

4 thoughts on “Email Penny Schwinn At The DOE To Oppose The Opt-Out Punishment In The School Report Card!!!!

  1. Regarding the school report cards, I agree that data on bullying and suspensions needs to be part of it. My one fear is that schools will try to earn a good grade by not reporting bullying. I also do not want to see students who have earned suspension based on the student code of conduct remain is class while their peers are wondering if he / she can get away with it, I can too. Having worked in Red Clay schools for nearly 27 years, I have seen how teachers can be discouraged and not supported by administrators when they try to file reports that might reflect negatively on the schools. This of course is the very thing that leads parents to distrust our schools. Instead of always trying to “spin” events to make themselves look good, it would be refreshing to hear an administrator say “We are more interested in improving our schools than we are in saying that everything that happens in our schools is fine and that we have all that we need”!


    1. I completely agree with you Linda. Matt Denn issued a statement last Winter regarding under reporting as well. I highly encourage parents to see their child’s e-school report to see what the results were for the “bully” in an incident and that their child was listed as a “victim” or vice-versa.


  2. THis is really starting to piss me off, Kevin. You mention meetings above in September, yet I feel like I’m navigating through a maze to find more info. These meetings aren’t listed on the DOE calendar. Could you let me know where these meetings are being held?


    1. Presumably at the DOE. If you read my “emails to Penny Schwinn”, I requested these meetings to be public, with increased stakeholder participation. In her responses, she openly admits the transparency on this has not been the greatest. I have heard from her and other sources there was a meeting on 8/25, and others on 9/2, 9/16 and 9/23. But this can be found NOWHERE on the DOE website. As well, Kilroy mentioned all their DCAS data is off their website now with no explanation if they are working on system upgrades or reports due to the upcoming SBAC results. Just gone…


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